Thanks to The Gal for authoring this meme. Click on the Sat-9 title of song on the next line below to play.
Saturday 9: The Straw Hat Song (1955)
1) In this song, Desi Arnaz encourages us to laugh and sing instead of concentrating on our troubles. Is this an approach to life you could adopt? Or are you a worrier? It depends on the day. My mom was Irish, through and through. While she was a good woman and great mom, she could yell. Loudly. My dad was always laughing and laid back. I’ve got both sides, but I am more like my dad. So, after all this shit, I am both.
2) Because Desi’s public persona was carefree, people are often surprised to learn
Johnnie & I (circa 2013)
his early life was hard. In 1933, his wealthy family was targeted by Cuban revolutionaries. Their home was destroyed and were forced to flee the country. In Miami, they lived in a warehouse and 16-year-old Desi helped support the family by cleaning cages for the man who sold canaries outside a drugstore. Think about your friends and acquaintances. Whose life story turned out to be very different than you originally thought? My best friend was Johnnie Walker. He was born to rich parents. They sent him to the best schools. When he went to Colorado in the 70s, he taught skiing and maintained the lawn of a golf course. This led to a love of landscaping. His dad, age wise, could have been his grandfather. His folks each had two children from their first marriages. They spoiled Johnnie, their sole child together. His dad brought him back here by buying Johnnie a landscaping business. So Johnnie & and his new bride came back. They had three children and raised them all here in New England. After his dad died his work suffered. He went out of business. His wife left him and all he had left was social security. He led the life of a pauper for the last 20 years of his life. He died and besides his junky car, he owned nothing.
Our 50th at WTIT. Johnnie by my side.
3) While still in his teens, Desi got his first job as an entertainer. As a boy in Cuba, he expected to be a lawyer, not a musician. He only began playing guitar because he noticed girls like musicians and he liked girls. Tell us about a hobby of yours, and what inspired you to pick it up. I fell in love with the radio by age 10. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I started WTIT by asking my friends Bouncing Bill and Galloping Gary to “play radio” we were 15. Girls loved coming to our parties. We’d play our tapes and tried to, well you know.
4) He discovered he was not only a talented musician but a natural leader. By the tender age of 19, he had organized The Desi Arnaz Orchestra and they were performing in Miami hotels. Have you ever been a boss? If so, did you enjoy it? I owned a hotel in the 70s. I owned a chain of video stores in the eighties. By 1990 I was back on air. I left to do radio sales. I became radio sales manager. In 1998 was Operations Manager at a furniture store. It was good to be a boss. And I was good at it. But for the last 15 years of my career I was not a boss and by then I preferred it.
Man with his three wives. At least I had only one at a time.
5) When he was 23, he went to Hollywood to try his hand at movies and met a 28 year old actress named Lucille Ball. In Hollywood back in 1940, it was considered embarrassing for a woman to date a younger man. Their initial attraction was so powerful she quickly got over it. Do you think age matters when it comes to romance? Yes. I am in my third marriage. I got married in 1973, 1995 and 2012. As you age you learn not to sweat the small shit. My three wives were very different people. But they were the right person at each stage in life.
6) Desi was the first person to call that famous redhead “Lucy.” Throughout her entire life, friends, family and coworkers always referred to her as “Lucille,” as she preferred. But Desi insisted on “Lucy.” He said that name was his and his alone. Ironically it became the way the world referred to her. Do you have a pet name for anyone? Yes. I don’t call my friends “Galloping Gary” unless we are recording. I never had “pet names” in a relationship.
7) Lucille and Desi named their son and daughter after themselves. Were you named after anyone? Yes. I am a Jr. My son is a III. It ended there because he had daughters.
8) Desi was the founding force behind Desilu. One of the first great production studios of the television age, Desilu grossed $15 million in 1957 (more than $135 million in today’s dollars). He credited his success to his unconventional and creative approach to problems. Are you a good problem solver? No. I get pissed & frustrated too easily. I lose things around the house all the time. Kathy finds what I lose instantly. She has the gift. I do not.
9) Random question: Who annoys you more, a know-it-all or an ignoramus? A know-it-all. I can deal with stupid people because it’s not their fault.
The late Eddie Money.
Well we are moved! It happened on Monday. Boxes are everywhere. My TV & internet are up and Monday I have hire someone to put my radio studio back together. It’s my housekeeper and she packed it all. We will be operational by next weekend. I LOVE IT HERE! Our tiny apartment was on a main road. All police and fire sirens went by almost hourly. The town had a motorcycle center. Almost a good move. The motor cycles were constant. Here we are in a plush dead end street. AS we fell asleep Monday night I turned to Kathy and said, “Can you hear that?” She replied she heard nothing. I said, “Exactly. No cars. No motorcycles. No police. No fire personalities. No ambulances. Just mail, Fed-Ex and UPS. And even tough my studio is all boxes. Kathy already painted it “hunter green”. Our last house (not apartment) happened to have the room my studio was in, was green. That was 2012. Both the apartments studio and now this one is hunter green. It’s one of the biggest studios that I have had. The last one was tied for smallest. We got through it and now – BOOM – we are home again.
I spent yesterday with a Best Buy contractor who hooked up TV & internet. My handy man was switching out my studio light to my tymphany light over the table. Took the doors off my studio closet. Now the shelving is ready to have the vynal put back. Back in the day (80s-90s) my man-cave and studio always had dark walnut paneling. I don’t put up paneling anymore. But my man cave outside of my studio has dark walnut paneling. We are 6.6 miles from the home I grew up in and our first studio. I am only 15 minutes from my friends. THey used to drive about an hour back and forth to our apartment. Not any more. Kathy’s job is in the nest town. She is driving a quarter of he ride from the old apartment.Oh and a sad goodbye to Eddie Money. He died yesterday at 70. He was a great song writer.
I hope we see each other for Stealing tomorrow. We will see. But either way, we will return. Same time. Same blog.